It is with a heavy heart that I’ve decided to leave the Wikimedia Foundation. There are a number of reasons why I’ve decided to move on, but they really aren’t that important in the grand scheme of things. Like any job, there were times when I was stressed and there were times when I was ticked off, but most of the time I enjoyed being there. The main reason I enjoyed being there each day was the people. I will always have fond memories of the Foundation and be happy that I got to work there because of my fellow staff.
Most Wikimedians have a poor view of the Staff (What are they getting paid to do? Why do they need more staff? Don’t they pay any attention to the sister projects?) and most will never have a chance to interact with them in any serious manner. This is a real detriment to the users who want to do good, but don’t have any faces to go along with the names. Even the ones who will get to meet the Staff at one of the many events, won’t have actually gotten to work with them. I had the luck of not only being brought in to work with this great group, I was also in a position that allowed me to work with just about everyone, 1 on 1, at one point or another.
I think the Wikimedia projects (all of them, even the bastard children like Wikinews) are doing great things for the world. There is no arguing that Wikipedia has permanently changed the face of human knowledge. It gives me a little bit of warm fuzzies knowing that one day I’ll be able to tell my kids that “I helped build that” (both as a Volunteer and as Staff). While I might not think every single thing the Foundation does is awesome, I think they are going the right direction. Almost everyone agrees that the direction the Foundation is going, and the major projects it’s attacking, are the Right Thing™ and that is the important part.
It saddens me that I got to spend so (comparably) little time working for the Wikimedia Foundation, but life goes on. As I said, it’s a bittersweet departure for me. There are hundreds of reasons I want to stay and a hundred more as to why I have to move on. The wonderful feature about the projects, one demonstrated by hundreds of thousands of volunteers globally, is that you don’t have to be Staff to keep contributing. So regardless of everything that has happened, the important part is that I’ll always be a Wikimedian.